13:54 November 24, 2010
A recent article about loss of young lives while attempting to cross railway tracks depressed me and so I decided to write this blog. I am surprised why people cross railway tracks even at stations like Parel. Here, the cost of a mistake is extremely fatal and still people take the risk. The economic value of the time you save by crossing the railway tracks can never, I repeat never be more than the economic value of your life.
Years ago, I used to stay in Malad East. Regular commuters are aware that trains from Churchgate are most likely to halt at platform No 1. If people wanted to go the Eastern side, many would tend to jump off the train on to the opposite railway track and save a couple of minutes. The time consuming option of taking the available foot bridge was conveniently discarded. During my commute those days I witnessed an accident at Malad station and made a firm resolve never to even attempt to cross the railway tracks. Your colleagues and train mates may make fun of you but using the footbridge significantly reduces risk to your life and at the same times gives you a little exercise.
What irritates me is that when someone dies because of their own fault, why is there is so much anger against the motorman and the railways. What can a GM sitting in Churchgate do to prevent such things? If the RPF gets stricter and imposes fines or wields the stick, there is uproar against them. The railways do their part of building fences and track dividers. In fact, to create awareness about the risks associated with crossing railway tracks, Western Railways even coined smart SMSes which it sent out like - ‘If you are fond of donating blood, do not do it on the tracks’ and ‘Short-cuts can cut your life short. Use FOBs and subways’
Why people take such a disproportionate risk may be a subject matter of psychology. Even in financial markets, many people take disproportionate risks. People forget simple laws of compounding and basic rules of hard work and patience when it comes to making money. Most of them get enamoured by some tip-peddling talkers who never admit how much they would have lost. Instead of buying good quality blue chips or investing via the mutual funds route, retail participants tend to buy the tip in vogue in the hope of making a fortune. Sadly, they end up being at the bottom of the pyramid.
Let me admit, when I started off in the stock market, I was also desperate to “get rich quick”. I blindly put in money expecting every trade to be a sure lottery winner. Continuous losses taught me the need to invest in quality stocks and the importance of hard work, research and most importantly patience. Nowadays, retail and HNI investors keep on writing out of the money options imagining it to be an easy money making route. They land up making money 9 out of 12 times but the amount they lose in the next few trades invariably wipes out not jus their past gains but also their capital. They would be lucky if they are not in debit due to that one reckless trade. In Warren Buffet’s words - "The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do". And Warren Buffet is regarded as a genius not for chakry gains or speculative profits but intelligent investing which earns may be 18% return per annum for years.